Drilling moratorium challenged by offshore company

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The government's ban on deepwater petroleum drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is being challenged by a Louisiana petroleum service company.

Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. filed suit in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, claiming the Interior Department recommended the six-month moratorium to President Barack Obama without any legal justification.

Hornbeck operates a fleet of vessels that haul people and supplies to offshore drilling rigs and production platforms. The company wants a federal judge to issue an injunction nullifying the moratorium.

The Interior Department, in a response, said the moratorium is needed for a special commission to study offshore drilling and make recommendations to the administration in light of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill.